An Update on Pennsylvania Hunting Firearms Law

undefinedBy: Scaringi Law

There are new firearms rules for the 2018-2019 Pennsylvania hunting season, and we’re here to make sure you understand them.  The following is an overview of the firearms regulations in place for this season.


To lawfully carry a handgun while hunting, a hunter must carry a Sportsman’s Firearms Permit or a License to Carry Firearms permit.  A Sportsman’s Firearms Permit is issued by county treasurers.  A License to Carry Firearms Permit is issued by a county sheriff or the Philadelphia Chief of Police.

A hunter with a Sportsman’s Firearms Permit may not carry a concealed handgun or a loaded handgun in a vehicle, and may not carry a handgun during bowhunting or spotlighting.

Loaded in Vehicles

Under Pennsylvania law, it is prohibited to:

  1. Have a loaded firearm in, on or against any motor vehicle (or any vehicle attachments), regardless if parked or moving;
  2. Have a loaded firearm in a powered watercraft, or shoot from a powered watercraft in motion;
  3. Have any loaded muzzleloading firearm in, on, or against any conveyance propelled by mechanical power;
  4. Have a cocked or loaded crossbow in, on, or against any conveyance propelled by mechanical power.

Those with a License to Carry Firearms permit are exempt, but remember that many sporting firearms are not authorized under that permit.

It is safe practice to discharge a loaded muzzleloader or crossbow into soft ground before loading them for vehicle transport.

Magazine Capacity

Shotguns used for hunting small game, furbearers, turkeys, waterfowl or crows are limited to a 3-shell capacity in the chamber and magazine combined.  A plug must be a one-piece filler installed such that removing it without disassembling the gun or magazine isn’t readily possible.

There are no magazine capacity restrictions for semiautomatic rifles used for hunting small game and furbearers.

Firearms & Devices

The law prohibits hunting with automatic firearms.  Semiautomatic rifles, air- or gas-powered rifles, and manually operated handguns may be used to hunt small game and furbearers.

It is unlawful to use semiautomatic rifles to hunt deer, bear, turkey, or elk.  It is also unlawful to hunt with semiautomatic handguns.

However, it is legal to hunt deer, bear, and elk with semiautomatic centerfire shotguns that fire single-projectile ammo.

Have Questions? Speak with an Experienced Firearms Attorney

It is important to remain updated on any changes in hunting and firearms laws.  The lawyers at Scaringi Law can provide proactive and comprehensive legal guidance on firearms law to ensure your firearms rights are protected.

Please contact Scaringi Law, or call us at (717) 775-7195 to consult with an experienced hunting and firearms lawyer.


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